The National Identification Authority (NIA) has commenced registration and issuance of Refugee Identity Cards to refugees residing in Ghana.
The exercise was part of the plan to keep Ghana on the enviable path of attaining legal identity for all by 2030, in line with Target 16.9 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which advocates the provision of legal identity for all, including birth registration.
The process is expected to enable refugees in Ghana to get access to some social services they do not currently enjoy as a result of their unregistered status.
Accessing basic services such as opening a bank account, registering SIM cards, etc. is often a daunting task for refugees in the country.
They have thus been calling on the government to be considered for the Ghana card ever since the exercise began, so they could live a stress-free life while in the country.
Padi Tetteh, the Acting Executive Secretary for the Ghana Refugee Board commended the registration process.
He said it is a step in the right direction and in accordance with international conventions.
“Due to the fact that we are signatories to the UN Refugee Convention and also the fact that we are governed by the Ghana Refugee Law, we are to ensure that refugees have access to social services, and it is important that they do so in order to allow them to earn a living,” he stated.
He revealed that 7,000 refugees are expected to be issued the card at the end of the exercise, and clarified that the card does not grant nationality to the refugees but, it is a means to enable them to get access to decent social services and also to ensure their safety while living in Ghana.
“It is important to note that the card doesn’t grant them nationality, and they don’t have the right to vote. The only thing is that the card gives them the right to social services in order to live in safety and dignity.,” he told Accra-based Citi FM.